Website Design Ideas
Before you start working on website design ideas here are a few points you might like to consider:
- How will your visitors use your website? Do you want visitors to be able to use your website to communicate with you, to read news updates, to view your products? Write a list of what you want your visitor to be able to do.
- In order to set yourself apart from your competition, visit their websites to see the designs they are using, study the layout and services they offer. Do you need to offer everything they are offering? Sometimes less is more, but you also don't want to be second-best. What information are they offering, do you agree with their opinions? Can you supply valuable information? How can you improve on their design? Use competitor websites for inspiration, don't think that because they are successful you have to copy them, if you do you will always be seen as the website that looks like that one!
Use everyday items for inspiration, food packets, CD covers, book covers, posters, magazines and catalogues, they have all been designed with 'attraction' in mind. What is it that has drawn your attention to a particular item, was it the colours, the font, or the general layout?
Logos and Stationary - Do you have any existing designs for your company logo and do you have letterheads or invoices containing your company identity? Use these for inspiration on your design, matching colour schemes and typefaces.
Make a scrap book of the things you like, is there a common theme developing? Save this as it will be invaluable to your website designer when conveying your ideas.
Good website design ideas include:
- Easy navigation - Usually visitors come to your website for a reason and have a question in mind they want answering. They might want to know if you provide a particular service, sell a particular product or they may want to know details about your business, for instance, your opening times or telephone number. Simple easy to follow menus and good navigation will help them find the answers quickly.
- Your home page should summarise your website and list the things the website offers, remember the 10 second rule – if visitors don't see what they want they go elsewhere!
- Keep your design clean, with a simply layout.
- Use a consistent design throughout the website this is often provided by the use of a template and can be specifically designed for your website. A constant theme helps your visitors to recognise your website, if you add different styles or backgrounds to pages it gives visitors the impression they have left your website.
- Photographs need to be of excellent quality, no blurring, flash marks or distracting junk in the background. If you have good photographs of your business use them, it will give a personal touch to your website. If you don't have any good photographs buy some! Many websites now use stock photos as they give a professional image to your business and can cost as little as a few pounds each, there are several big stock image websites on the internet and some of them are even royalty free but don’t forget to read the terms and conditions of these as they may have restrictions for public use.
- Keep your paragraphs of text short. Reading information on screen is much easier with short paragraphs
Bad website design ideas include:
- Music playing when your website loads, this has to be one greatest hates for people when talking about website design, you could be browsing along or searching for information, when all of a sudden music comes blasting out of your computer! If you really must add music to your website make sure it is optional and users have to click it to turn it on!
- Automatic pop-ups, this has become so annoying that many browsers now block pop-ups as standard, so why bother creating pop-ups, most visitors won’t see them anyway!
- Too many Ads - Advertisements on your page can bring you valuable revenue but too many will confuse your visitors and you will lose the meaning of your website, try to keep advertisements specific and to the point.
- Multiple large images on a single page will take ages to load. All images take time to load but when you use lots of large images on single page users may get board waiting. Use thumbnail images linked to larger images on a page of their own.
- Text and backgrounds in poor colour combinations. Black text on a white background will always be the standard, because it is easy to read, if the colour of your text doesn’t stand out against the background it will be difficult to read and affect the usability of your website.
How do I know I have the right idea?
Ask your friends, family and colleagues, show them your design without explaining the why and what’s and let them make up their own mind, if you don't like criticism ask them for ideas on how you can improve the design rather that tear it apart!
If you are using a website designer, ask them their opinion a good designer will be able to help you translate your ideas into a user-friendly, clean and clear website. Take a look at your designer’s portfolio to see if they have previously created any websites with a design layout similar to the one you want. Designers specialise in different fields, some designers are artistic, some like flashing banners and neon colours. Ask the designer what platform they use for creating your website, some platforms are fantastic for the more artistic websites but you would never be able to edit the website yourself, whereas some platforms will allow you to login and edit, even if it is just to change your phone number!